Mustard is one of the most common condiments in the world. The most common type, prepared mustard, or just simply mustard, is recognizable due to its bright yellow color. This condiment is made from grinding up the seeds of the mustard plant and combining it with water, vinegar, wine, or other tart liquids. In some preparations, other spices are added. The taste of mustard can range from sweet to spicy depending on the type of mustard seed used. American mustard, the bright yellow type everyone is used to seeing, is considered to be a mild mustard that is slightly sweet and has a vinegary tang to it.
- Mustard seeds have been found in the tombs of ancient pharaohs, making this condiment possibly the first-ever condiment man has put on food.
- Mustard has been used to treat many health issues such as asthma, various aches and pains, toothaches, and even scorpion stings.
- While Dijon mustard was invented in Dijon, France, the name wasn’t protected and today, Dijon mustard can be made anywhere.
- One of the earliest “viral” advertisements was one for mustard, specifically Grey Poupon.
- Mustard seed is the second-most used spice in America, right behind black pepper.
- What we know as yellow mustard that bright yellow condiment, gets its color from turmeric.
- Mustard seed has antibiotic properties and the acidity in the vinegar allows the mustard to stay edible for extended periods without the use of preservatives.
Mustard Buying Guide
Aside from the tried and tested yellow mustard, there are a lot of types of mustard out there that’s worth giving a try. Here are the different types of mustard that you can try out.
- Classic Mustards – These are the mustards that are “common” and is recognized by almost everyone.
- Yellow Mustard – This is the bright yellow mustard that everyone knows and loves. This is usually just called “mustard” without the yellow qualifier before it. If there’s a hot dog sandwich or a burger, yellow mustard won’t be far behind. The bright yellow color of this mustard isn’t actually from the mustard seeds themselves but is from the added turmeric.
- Dijon Mustard – This is one step higher (depending on who you ask) from the typical yellow mustard. This mustard was invented in the Dijon region of France and uses white vinegar instead of distilled vinegar as the acidic liquid base. It has the same consistency with yellow mustard but has a more complex and sharp flavor profile.
- Spicy Brown – This variety is more common in delis and specialty meat shops. The mustard seeds are coarsely ground giving it a pleasing rough texture. Flavor-wise, this has a sharper and deeper flavor profile than the previous two mustards mentioned.
- Wine Mustards – Much like Dijon mustard, these varieties use specific wine vinegar to get the specific flavor from the wine vinegar used. The three most used wine vinegar for wine mustards are Pinot noir, champagne, and white burgundy.
- Coarse Mustards – These mustards use an even coarser grind of mustard seeds and the grinds will be clearly visible. Spicy brown mustard can be considered coarse mustard but on the low end. On the high end of this spectrum, coarse mustards can be really chunky and have a deeper flavor to them.
- Whole Grain Mustards – As the name implies, the mustard includes whole mustard seeds that you can see through the packaging.
- English Mustard – This looks like traditional yellow mustard but its acidity levels are quite high. On top of being more acidic, this is also spicier than the regular yellow mustard variant.
- Chinese Hot Mustard – Think of mustard mixed with wasabi, with sinus-clearing properties. This isn’t as bad as it sounds and it’s a whole experience in itself.
- Flavored Mustards – These are specialty sauces that use mustard as its base. Mustards in this category include honey-mustard, pecan-honey, honey-Dijon, balsamic mustard, habanero mustard, and so on.
Mustard Production & Farming in Texas
While a lot of people might not know this, the mustard seeds that are made into the mustard condiment come from the mustard green plant that thrives in Texas weather. Not only that, but it also takes only 60 days for a mustard plant to produce seeds. A lot of small farmers and producers all around the state produce mustard greens for vegetable use and at the same time leave some of their crops to produce mustard seeds for the production of the mustard condiment. Almost every farm that produces goods for sale will have some small-batch mustard available whole year-round. Since mustard lasts practically forever, you’ll have no shortage of choices when it comes to artisan mustard that’s produced within the state.
Another popular mustard variant in Texas is Honey-Pecan Mustard. Since all of the component ingredients for this mustard is produced locally, you’ll be getting the best of Texas in one condiment.
If you can’t go to these small farms, be sure to check out your local farmers’ markets as these producers will often have stalls there that showcase their products. On top of that, you can even try their mustards before buying them. Nothing is worse than buying something, only to find out that you don’t really like the taste when you get home.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
While mustard in itself may last practically forever, some commercially produced mustard do have some preservatives and additives that may not be totally good for you in the long run. We’ve gone through some really popular mustard brands and have found these additives:
- Annatto – While relatively harmless and natural, this functions as a natural food coloring. It’s extra stuff in your food that does nothing for the taste and the nutritional value.
- Artificial and Natural Flavors – Again, another use of unspecified flavors. Subjectively this may taste good, but if you really want to taste real mustard, avoid products that add unspecified flavors. This can also be an issue for people who have strict dietary restrictions due to these flavors being unknown.
- Tartaric acid – This is added as a preservative to keep against bacterial growth.
Even though commercially produced mustard doesn’t have as many additives as other commercially produced condiments, it still has them. If you really want to try some good mustard, support your local growers and buy locally.
Mustard comes in many different packaging and the most common one for commercially produced mustard is in a plastic squeeze bottle. Many mustard varieties also come in either glass or plastic jars. Most artisan mustard is typically packed in wide-mouth glass jars.
Mustard is the condiment of choice when it comes to hotdogs. It’s also good for other sandwiches and meat dishes.
Another popular use for mustard is to slather it over slabs of meat before adding the rub. To those that don’t like the taste, don’t worry, the mustard taste will be gone once the meat has finished cooking. The mustard acts as a glue to hold the rub on to the surface of the meat and it also helps in tenderizing the meat.
As long as the mustard is in a sealed container, it can practically last forever in the fridge.
Make Your Own Mustard:
Now if you have access to mustard seeds or if you have a mustard green plan that’s coming along in age, you might want to allow it to produce seeds so you can make your own country-style mustard. Here’s a quick mustard recipe that you can do at home if you ever have any mustard seeds on hand.
Mustard Seeds, 50 grams
Mustard Powder, 50 grams (if you can’t find any, double the amount of the seeds)
Beer, ½ cup (or water if you prefer, but who wants that just water)
Cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons
Salt, 10 grams
Honey, 10 grams (optional, for a touch of sweetness)
Grind the mustard down into your desired consistency.
Add the ground mustard with the salt and mustard powder to the beer or water then stir well until incorporated.
Let it steep together for at least 10 minutes. If you wait longer, the mustard will be milder, if you wait shorter, the mustard will be stronger, it’s up to you. For us, we find that 10 minutes is the perfect balance of heat and flavor.
Add the vinegar and mix it properly.
This may look to be runny, but allow it to rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours and it should firm up quite nice.
Serve as you would regular mustard.